RIM Must Keep Laser Focus on the Enterprise

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-04-27 Print this article Print

5. Tethering

Although Apple has said the iPhone will eventually be used as a tethered modem allowing users to access the Web via their laptops over AT&T 3G, such functionality has yet to make its way to the device. BlackBerry devices feature that functionality right now. That might seem like a small victory for RIM, but it really isn't. Enterprise customers need their employees to be productive at all times. Being able to use a mobile device to connect a laptop to the Web is a must-have feature for some companies. And until it comes to the iPhone, that means Apple's smartphone is out of luck.

6. RIM's focus

RIM's success in the enterprise can be directly attributed to its fidelity to that world. Unlike so many other companies in the mobile market that have chosen to focus on consumers, RIM realized that its competitive advantage is sitting in cubicles and offices around the world. As long as RIM maintains that strategy and fights the urge to take Apple on in the consumer space, the company will be successful. The enterprise might not be as glamorous as the consumer market, but it's certainly profitable.

7. The iPhone is a consumer product

Lately, tech experts have been saying the iPhone has a good chance of besting RIM's BlackBerry in the enterprise. Although that's certainly possible, we can't lose sight of the fact that Apple's smartphone is a consumer product. The iPhone might have Exchange support and push e-mail, but it lacks the many security and control settings that users increasingly require in today's corporate world. It's also important to remember that Apple, unlike RIM, is marketing almost exclusively to consumers. Apple isn't an enterprise company-RIM is.

8. The enterprise loves BlackBerry e-mail

BlackBerry e-mail is typically touted as one of the main reasons why companies opt for RIM devices rather than an alternative. It makes sense. In many ways, RIM has made mobile e-mail a fine experience. The ability to view all the latest messages in multiple e-mail accounts is just the tip of the iceberg. RIM's e-mail system automatically syncs with accounts through BlackBerry Enterprise Server, offers a tremendous slate of security features and delivers customization options that the rest of the market still has yet to match. The iPhone's Mail app is nice, but for corporate customers, the BlackBerry's e-mail still reigns supreme.

9. The corporate world is resistant to change

As smart as RIM has been with its enterprise strategy, part of its success can be attributed to the nature of the enterprise. Companies are resistant to change, opting to stick with what they know and like rather than switch to something new. It makes sense. Employees that are content with a product tend to be more productive. If they're thrown something new that requires them to change their workflow, it can negatively affect productivity. The corporate world doesn't like to fix something that isn't broken. RIM is lucky because of that.

10. It understands the enterprise

As all the aforementioned reasons why RIM is still tops in the enterprise have shown, the company understands what the corporate world wants from a mobile phone. That is helping to set it apart from companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google, which have had trouble adequately addressing corporate needs. RIM gets the enterprise. And it understands that in order for companies to continue buying BlackBerry devices or investing in BlackBerry Enterprise Server, it needs to cater to them. RIM's success has been due to its ability to properly understand what the enterprise is all about.

Going forward, RIM can't lose sight of that.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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